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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 17, 2003

Disney exec offers tips on branding

By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer

Iolani School graduate Ken Goldstein, a Walt Disney Co. executive, will visit Hawai'i on Friday to talk about how local nonprofit groups can take advantage of for-profit-style branding strategies when fund raising.

For information

For more on the The Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon on Friday at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, call 230-3653 or see www.afphawaii.org.

Goldstein, 41, executive vice president for Disney Online, started his career as a screenwriter before shifting into software development and publishing at companies such as Cinemaware and Broderbund Software, where he was involved with the Carmen Sandiego series of games. After joining Disney in 1998, he worked with Hawai'i tourism officials to help make the movie "Lilo & Stitch" a Hawai'i-branded product.

Goldstein recently shared some thoughts on that deal as well as efforts to build a technology industry in Hawai'i.

Q. What role did you play in getting "Lilo & Stitch" into a Hawai'i-related product?

A. When I first learned about "Lilo & Stitch" and knew that it was going to represent the people and culture of Hawai'i with sensitivity and respect, I began working with my colleagues at the studio to put together an appropriate partnership that I knew would mutually benefit both Disney and Hawai'i.

We sat down with the very caring people of the Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau and developed an unprecedented global sponsorship program that put Hawai'i at the heart of all of our marketing and communications, inviting tourists from around the world to see and visit Hawai'i, in new ways and with new ideas.

I made sure that all of our online communications drove people to explore Hawai'i on the Internet and plan new vacations, and I visited Hawai'i several times during the promotion to make sure all our partners were fully briefed on our joint success.

(Note: That agreement was cut short when state officials refused to pay for the deal, because it was struck without their consent.)

Q. What are your thoughts on the state's chances of establishing a technology industry?

A. One of the most interesting and liberating aspects of technology is that the workplace truly can be approached as virtual —unlike a manufacturing economy where just-in-time distribution of physical goods is key to ensuring customer satisfaction.

Our current information economy is largely growing without regard to location. When I hit "send" on an e-mail, it really does not matter if I send it from Honolulu to New York or Los Angeles to Hong Kong, it pretty much arrives in the same time frame.

When one of my development teams works with another team to create a site, their partners are as likely to be in Seattle or Orlando as they are in Burbank. In our new information economy, talent determines the supply chain. Where there is talent there will be opportunity. Given what a wonderful place Hawai'i always should be, there is no reason ... it should not be a magnet for talent.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on how Hawai'i can better leverage and export its intellectual property?

A. Hawai'i exemplifies the absolute best in multiculturalism. Whenever someone visits Hawai'i, they are instantly struck by the broad spectrum of cultural outreach and the blending of ideas in all facets of the arts. Taking forward the spirit of 'ohana, and helping people around the world understand that Hawai'i is not simply outwardly beautiful but inwardly beautiful as demonstrated by the ethos that is shared among its people, gives Hawai'i a unique identity that is all at once broadly accessible. I don't think enough people know this about Hawai'i, and I think they should.

Q. What are some of the high points you plan to make in your keynote address to the Association of Fundraising Professionals?

A. The important work of nonprofit agencies and the essential need to increase volunteerism represent an area of focus that is very close to my heart. I am personally involved in a number of child- and family-service agencies, and what I try to share with them is that there need not be as much distance between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds as one might think, especially when it comes to marketing.

All successful businesses know that first and foremost, customer relationships must remain at the forefront of all decision-making, and yet too few businesses spend meaningful executive time focused on their brand.

A brand is a promise, a point of differentiation, and the single best way to build an emotional relationship with a customer that yields a lifetime value proposition. I will be discussing some of the correlations between effective brand building in the for-profit world, and how nonprofit enterprise can reshape its proposition by embracing some of these same strategies that aim less at tactical transactions and more at bonding connections.